Scarlet Letter Isolation

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the romance The Scarlet Letter, once said that the greatest sin that one could commit is to isolate oneself from the rest of society. There are many examples that can be found in this world that strongly support his opinion. Up to today, my father still lectures me on the importance of building up a stronger EQ and interacting with people of all sorts. He consistently compares me to my older brother, Simon, who with his public speaking abilities and pleasant nature, is able to interact socially with every type of person in a comfortable way. Recently, while attending a Montville Kiwanis Meeting, I overheard a man, obviously impressed with Simon's nature, compliment my brother by saying, "Simon is definitely going places when he grows older." If one maintains a shy behavior, and continues to isolate him or herself from the rest of society, life may become unbearably uneasy.

There are countless stories of executives, though extraordinarily intelligent, losing their jobs due to an inability to interact socially with coworkers.

As the year of 2002 approaches, there seems to be hardly a single computer that is not connected to the Internet. Although the inter- prefix suggests greater interaction between users of the Internet, recent studies have shown that more and more people are becoming "addicted," so to speak to the web. Though this problem appears more prominently in high-tech regions such as Japan, it is definitely moving slowly into the United States as it tries to keep up with modern times. As more people become addicted to the net, more time is spent in front of a screen, rather than a person. Many find it much more comfortable to communicate with others online rather than in person, hence the numerous online dating services. However, this may eventually leads to the development of a psychological condition in which people are literally terrified to leave their house, in fear of meeting anybody. Their paranoia in turn becomes extremely devastating towards themselves.

Rock stars today generally live a life of isolation as many continually attempt to conceal their identities as they travel from place to place in order to prevent fans from overwhelming them. Their only interaction with others is usually with other celebrities, or arrives in the form of a screaming crowd of hundreds or thousands. Their life as an elitist usually leads to snobby and unpleasant attitudes towards "lower-life" people. However, Daft Punk, a famed duo mostly in Europe, resists the entrance into a life of isolation. This is due primarily to the fact that only the closest friends of Daft Punk actually know what the two singers look like. Their music videos consist of animated characters and their concerts reveal nothing more than two singers behind robot masks. Therefore, the two enjoy a normal life, as they are able to stroll down the street with not a single fan recognizing them.

Hester Prynne, of The Scarlet Letter, also reflects a refusal to isolate herself from the rest of society. Though condemned to a life of ridicule and embarrassment, she stands firm and though she must live in the outskirts of town, she still remains connected to the rest of society. Hester's charities as well as her remarkable sewing projects lead others to see her in a different light. As a matter of fact, the scarlet letter "A" embroidered on her chest has seemed to lose all initial meanings. Instead, it comes to stand for more pleasant words, such as angel. Her determination to remain connected to the rest of society seems to appease the magnitude of her sin. Had she resolved to live a life of isolation, all the townspeople would not be able to see her inner self and continue to label her as a sinful adulterer.

Isolating oneself from the rest of society is most certainly the greatest sin, as Nathaniel Hawthorne once noted, for it is generally destructive to one's self. There are so many examples today that show the magnitude of this sin. Whether it be to be successful or to enjoy life, or to allow others to see one's true self, a connection with the rest of society is a crucial necessity.